Thursday, November 30, 2006

Okay, No More Pictures . . .

I think I'm temporarily over my picture-posting fun. I think. Temporarily.

Today was my last class day of this semester (whoo-hoo!) which means I'm only one semester away from taking (and hopefully passing!) the bar, and then being a lawyer, which would make these past 2.5 years of stress worth it. Or, at least, not a total waste.

My stress level right now, as you can imagine with finals coming up, is not low. Fortunately, I've been getting workouts in. Monday was my run with the RocketDog (I like that better than 'fraud.' 'Saddest Dog Ever' still applies but is too long for everypost use. And "RocketDog" is pretty accurate). Tuesday was a swim, about 2000 yards total. I was in the pool for less than an hour, but it's still pretty cool to be in there and have people get in, do their swim, and get out while I'm there. Yesterday was a rest day. Today, Spinerval. Which leads to . . .

A few observations about Spinervals:

1. Coach Troy does not count well. His 5-second counts are way too short. It's like, "5...321!"
2. The music is terrible. Terrible.
3. Doing a Spinerval after having a beer and dinner at a bar is not a good idea. It was only sheer luck that I didn't puke.

That's all I've got. Goodnight.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Saddest Dog Ever (Part II)

Meet the Saddest Dog Ever.

and his faithful nemesis, Stinky the Wonder Kitten:

Sometimes they get along.

Other times, not so much.

They're great.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Holiday Card...

Thank you, The New Yorker. I love it.

Saddest Dog Ever

I decided that I was feeling good, and my dog had been in his crate for a while because I was at class, so I'd take him with me on my run tonight. He's a great dog, and a true pain in the ass. He's also the Saddest Dog Ever. Ever. There was never a dog sadder than he. Speedy and I (okay, I) recently made the executive decision that the dog is no longer allowed on the couch, because the couch has white cushions and the dog often has muddy paws. So I washed the cushion covers and put the kibosh on the dog on the couch. Now, this is the saddest dog. He is sitting on his brand-new cushion on the floor, giving me these big sad eyes. I'm so not convinced. He's a fraud.

Anyway, I took the fraud out for a short run. He loves to run, but he get so excited that running with him is like running downhill the entire time because he pulls so much. And I decided that it would be a good idea, while still not 100% recovered, to take this 70-pound missile out with me. Yeah, not my brightest idea ever. I mean, it went okay, but there were lots of lateral movements and other quick movements that don't happen during a normal run. It was a little painful. On the plus side, I went pretty fast, because I practically had a sled dog pulling me along.

In other news, this is the last week of classes. I can't freaking wait for this semester to be over. One of my friends is taking the stress of school and her job search pretty hard, and seems to be taking it out on me. She's a sweetheart to everyone else, and has been evil to me lately. This is the second time in the past few weeks that this has happened with this one particular friend. It happened, and seemed to resolve, and now it's started again. Seriously, I think she's a cool girl and all but I'm done letting her occupy space in my head like this. Ugh. But, after I take four exams, I get to go out to San Francisco with Speedy for a few days. This will be the fourth time I've been there this year. Hopefully when I come back, I won't fall in the airport. I'll make sure to wear flat-soled shoes this time around :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Here He Comes To Save The Day!

Speedy got sick of hearing me complain about swimming and agreed to come to the pool to coach me. He went without his goggles (or at least left them in the locker room) and even wore board shorts. Now, him totally not participating in order to coach me is a big deal. For instance, he's a good surfer, and once tried to teach me how to surf. We both went out on boards, and he taught me how to paddle and balance on the board, and so on. After we got the very basics down, every time a good wave came, he'd say "Oh, here's a good one, try to get this!" and I'd think, "but HOW?" Meanwhile, he'd be 30 feet in front of me already, having caught said good wave and riding it in. He'd paddle back and say something along the lines of "You'll get the next one." Meanwhile, I had no idea how to stand up on the board or even just how to catch the wave. Needless to say, I didn't learn how to surf that day. Or ever. So, he really took one for the team today by going to the pool for the sole purpose of helping me improve. And I think that's awesome.

I have been getting frustrated with my swimming lately. I've been feeling like I can't get any glide, and as soon as I try to go fast I lose all semblance of control and form. Or, at least, that's how I feel. Over dinner last night, Speedy, who swam in high school and knows more about this than I do, explained to me that there are two main types of strokes: the first is long and gliding, and the second is shorter with a higher turnover. Men, he explained, tend to use a longer stroke, while women have a higher turnover. Sounds like a good enough explanation to me. He thought maybe what was making me so frustrated was that I was trying to use one type when I should be using the other. So off to the pool today.

Turns out he was right. What I thought was all hell breaking loose in the pool when I tried to go fast was just a higher turnover with a shorter stroke length, which is totally acceptable and in his opinion, probably better for open-water swimming anyway. He gave me some great advice, for instance, my catch was not as efficient as it could be, and showed me how to improve. He even took some video of me swimming, and when we got home he showed me what he thought I was doing well and what should change.

He also told me that my times, which I was freaking out over because I felt so crappy, were really not all that bad. Yesterday I broke 1:30 for 100 (twice), and my 50 times were also fine, but I got so caught up in the general frustration that I totally lost sight of that. And today he had me do some sprint 25s, and two were in the 18.xx range. I wonder if I can keep that up for a 50; I'd smash my goal of breaking 40 seconds. Unlikely, but it's nice to imagine.

So all that helped bring me down from the height of frustration, where I had been hanging out for a while. Also, the weather here has been amazing and not like November at all. I had a great 4-mile run on Friday, and I'm really psyched that I keep extending the distance I can run. Yes, I said psyched.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night Speedy and I were at my parents' house. My sister is turning 21 in a few months, and we've been trying to come up with a plan to celebrate it appropriately. My mom commented that she didn't know whether she had ever been to a 21st birthday party, and I pointed out the obvious, "well, you turned 21, right?" Speedy, in his infinite wisdom, piped up, "Well, I think she meant recently." Yeah, not so smooth on his part.

Today is Thanksgiving. I've got lots to be thankful for. I have an awesome family and a great group of friends. School is going well, and my foot is almost totally healed. I feel really lucky.

So right - tri training. The reason I have this blog in the first place. So a couple days ago I did an easy swim, 8x100 and 2x400. I didn't feel great, but was doing okay on the 100s. My times were on average slightly faster than they've been, but my 400s were way slow, like 20 seconds slower than a few weeks ago. That was a little disappointing, but not terribly surprising. I felt really inefficient through the water. I'm not feeling like it's the end of the world though; with the end of the semester upon me and finals starting soon I can't really expect to have all my workouts be great. But I'd at least like to be consistent from week to week. I don't have to be faster every week, but not being 20 seconds slower would be nice. Here are the times I'm comparing:

11/7: 10x100 - 1.50 avg, 400 - 7:23
11/21: 8x100 - 1.45 avg, 2x400 - 7:43, 7:51

So the 100 average was quite a bit faster, but the 400 was way slower. Any idea what this means?

Yesterday was 45 minutes of an aerobic basebuilder Spinerval. It was a really good workout, and I felt good when I got off the bike - my legs weren't trashed like they usually are after a Spinerval.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I've started signing up for races for next year (okay, one race, but it's still a start). I want to put one of those charts in the sidebar. Can someone tell me how to do that? As a law student, I have mastered things like the finer points of using bullet-point lists and formatting headings and page numbers, but I am pretty clueless with things like HTML. Hence my newfound preference for posting from a PC instead of my Mac. Anyway. Help?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Today's run: easy 3 miles with Speedy. We went out after I got back from class and he from work, so it was dark by the time we left. Speedy doesn't often run after dark, or in the cold. (I know. He doesn't run in the dark or cold and just recently relented and started using a trainer. Yet he's still way faster than I am. Oh, the unfairness.) With about a mile left, he commented that he was feeling like a "total hardcore badass." Yes, that is a direct quote. Too bad I can't make that into some sort of pseudonym for him. Luckily for him, I like Speedy McFast and will stick with that. For now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shut Up About Your Damn Foot Already!

First. Usually I post from a Mac. This post was done on a PC (Yes, I like both Macs and PCs. Does that make me immoral in some way? Probably. I was studying at a coffee shop the other day, and my friend couldn't get her PC to connect to the WiFi, so I helped her get it working. The girl next to us made a big deal about a Mac user helping a PC user, and how now there was peace on earth. Really.) Blogger clearly prefers PCs, because all the sudden I have an array of options that are not there for the Mac, like font color, bold/italic, links, bullet lists, and so on. These options aren't available to me when I'm using my Mac. Clearly Blogger is Macophobic.

Moving on, yesterday I ran. Not on the treadmill, and not a little half-mile ginger jog, either. I really ran. For 2.5 miles. With Speedy. I wasn't going fast, but I was going. And it was excellent. Today was a 1-hour spin on the trainer, watching The Simpsons and American Dad. (See? Italics!) Really, not a bad hour of TV to be watching while spinning. I think that I need to stop harping on being healed and just start getting down to the business of getting back into shape (hence the post title). I thought I could make a goal be a 5K, but it since the 2.5 miles yesterday went well, it looks like it's going to be more like 5 miles.

Speedy took pity on me tonight and put together my workout schedule for the next couple weeks. After that, it all goes to hell because classes end, finals start, and my schedule becomes pretty nuts. But for the next two weeks I have my workouts planned. Tomorrow: 3-mile run.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh Coach Troy, How I Love to Hate You

This seems to be a week of firsts. After doing my first treadmill and road runs, I did my first Spinerval today. Well, not my FIRST first, but my first since I fell. Before that, I had been doing them 1 or 2 times a week, without fail.

Today, Coach Troy kicked my ass. It was great. It was really freaking hard. But I was able to do it, and do the whole thing, and go hard the whole time. It wasn't pretty, but I did it.

I'm thinking I may have recovered enough that I may be released from PT tomorrow. I'm not sure. It seems to me that my physical therapist is rather amused by me. The facility I go to doesn't really cater to athletes, it's more of a functional PT/work hardening place. So I think he finds it funny that even though I can walk without pain, my main concerns are getting my strength/balance back and getting back to working out. Not walking; I can do that. Because my starting point, by the time I got to PT, was sort of where others hope to end after PT, I think my goals are unusual. But, that said, he's been great and pushes me to do more difficult things every time I'm there, which I think is great. But back to my point - I think he may release me tomorrow. That would mean I am officially (almost) better.

Next goal: trail running. I love trail running. I've tried to convince Speedy that we should move to a place that has better trail running. He's not convinced that we should move just based on the availability of trails. Don't worry; I'll keep working on it :)

No Respect.

I was planning to swim today. I got all set to go, and got to the gym to find a sign: "The pool is closed until 5:00 p.m." Fine, whatever. But really, the gym I go to has no respect for swimmers. The pool closes much earlier than the rest of the gym, and it's often a crapshoot as to whether it will be open at all. It makes planning workouts a little difficult.

So anyway. No swimming today. Back on the trainer, I guess.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yay for Running!

Yes, that's right. I have been running. I ran a half-mile yesterday on the treadmill at physical therapy, and today I ran just over a half-mile on real roads.

I know, I know. One measly half-mile? The last run I did before I got hurt was with Speedy, and we did an ass-kicking seven mile run in Berkeley. That run was basically up the side of a mountain and back down. And here I am, all excited over a half-mile. Well, dear reader, the distance isn't what matters. That will come quickly enough, as I'm confident that I've maintained my cardio fitness well. What matters is that I went running for the first time in over two months. Running was the big hurdle (um, no pun intended). I was not able to think that I was really recovered until I could run. And now, I can. Not far, yet, and my ankle still hurts a bit when I do, but the therapist thinks that's just because I haven't used the small stabilizing muscles in a while. But I can run.

And that. is. AWESOME.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Need a Coach.

So one of my goals was to get a coach. I've been thinking about this for a while. I think I need some direction in my training (Go forward, quickly. Right. Not that kind of direction). Maybe getting a coach would help provide that, as well as take away the issue of trying to put together my own schedule and wondering if I'm doing it right and knowing that it could be done better. Perhaps if it's financially feasible after the new year I'll look into it.

So where does one go to find a reasonably-priced coach? I want personalized training plans and email contact. Anybody have any ideas?

If he's Speedy McFast, I might be Pokey McSlow.

So after yesterday's musings about whether I've gotten faster in the pool, I went back and looked at my (admittedly meager) workout records. I am quite bummed to report that in fact, I have not gotten faster. Demoralizing, yes, but not totally devastating. There are a few explanations I can think of.

First, my technique has gotten much better, so it's possible that I was swimming faster but with worse form. Okay, so what? Well, if my form is not efficient I'll get tired sooner. So now I need to learn how to go fast while not falling apart. Also, I've really upped my swim volume lately due to my injury, and I've also been lifting, so there's a possibility that I have some fatigue playing into this as well. Physical fatigue as well as mental, given how busy things are right now. Last, when I was faster, I was also swimming with Speedy almost every time I went to the pool, and he would watch me and offer pointers. Due to some circumstances out of our control, Speedy and I swim together only occasionally now.

So these explanations could just be excuses. I probably just need to suck it up and swim faster.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

So Close!

Today was speedwork in the pool. Speedy and I worked out together; it's nice to have someone to chat with during the rest. Not that either of us really feel like chatting, and instead are just trying to catch our breath, but it's still nice.

The workout was 4 x (2 x 50 medium, 1' rest, 1 x 50 fast, 1:30 rest). I feel silly posting these workouts, since this was a 600-yard main set, and I am reading other blogs where people are like "I did 3500 yards this morning and this afternoon, I'm planning a 6-mile tempo run," but I guess it is what it is.

I was hoping to break 40 seconds for one of the 50s, but not quite. I'm really close, but just not quite there. My times were:

Set 1: 46.21, 46.14, 40.65
Set 2: 45.23, 44.47, 40.98
Set 3: 45.26, 45.57, 40.81
Set 4: 45.72, 44.62, 41.44

So pretty close to breaking 40. I feel like I'm faster than I used to be, and logically I think that must be true, because I'm stronger and I've been swimming more. But I think only my 50 time has gotten faster. This is sort of demoralizing, because I've been doing so much swimming lately and really I only learned how to swim about 14 months ago. So it seems that I should be much faster but I don't think I am.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

If he's Speedy McFast, does that make me Mrs. McFast?

Not terribly much to say. My foot is healing nicely, and the therapist said I can likely start running on the treadmill as early as next week! That was awesome to hear.

I did a Spinerval last night. It kicked my ass. I've maintained my fitness pretty well, I think, but man was that Spinerval hard. It felt good to do some interval work, though, even though it was really a lot more painful than I remember Spinervals being. Today I took out my bike and rode along with my husband while he ran. It was good to get out, and I was clipped in, so I got to see how the foot held up to being out on the road. All things considered, it was not bad at all. And I got to chat with my husband (hereinafter "Speedy McFast") while he ran. Okay, I chatted, and he mostly listened and every now and then said something, but since he was running and I was cruising along on my bike it was a pretty one-sided conversation. Which is fine. Clearly I have enough to say that I feel the need to blog, so I can fill the time while Speedy runs. I think that biking while he runs would be a great way to discuss things that we disagree about. I can talk, and he will be too out of breath to answer. Good plan, right?

Today I got my butt back onto the elliptical. I had a great plan: download one of the podcasts from a makeup class I missed earlier in the semester and listen to that while I 'ran.' Yes, I'm a nerd, but we've established that already. And yes, one of my professors records his classes for podcasting. He thought it was so great to record the makeup session that he records all of them now. Seriously, though, it's a 2-credit class. Give me a break. But moving on, I downloaded the file, unhooked my IPod, and went to the gym and got all set to do the longest workout I've done since before I got hurt. I try to open the file, and realize that I forgot that the stupid IPod is set to manual, so I had to actually put the file on it. Dammit. So I wasn't able to multi-task as well as I had hoped, but that's okay. I still went for 60 minutes, which was great.

Abs tonight. Speedwork swim and maybe lifting tomorrow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Love and Marriage (and PT and The New Yorker)

So. Physical therapy is going well. Apparently after the initial evaluation, the therapist sets out a rehab course for the patient, but when I went in on Tuesday they had misplaced my chart, so the therapist was just doing it on the fly. He started by having me sit on the stationary bike for 5 minutes. First of all, when's the last time you sat on a bike that was not either (a) your own, or (b) at spinning class? For me, it's been quite a while. And let me tell you, that seat on the plain-old bike was NOT comfortable. Funny how one gets used to a certain type of saddle. Anyway. I think the 'warm up' was actually just to give them 5 more minutes to look for my chart. After about 8 minutes, the therapist comes back and tells me to stop at 7. Oh-kay.

Really, though, therapy was not bad, and the therapist seemed to think I was making good progress. That was great. Maybe I'll be back to running soon! Although, I did get through a bit of the new New Yorker on the elliptical this am. There's an interesting article about the biking culture in Manhattan. That kept me occupied for a while.

My husband recently caved and bought himself a trainer. This means that we now have two trainers set up in our not-huge basement, both facing a 13-inch t.v. I think it's great that he has a trainer now. He's been making fun of me for months, but he's finally realizing how awesome it is to be able to get in a good workout even when it's dark, cold, and rainy. He has yet to make the acquaintance of Coach Troy, whom I love to hate. I think he'll have an entirely different view after he does his first Spinerval and discovers just how much those things will kick your ass.

He (my husband, not Coach Troy) and I have a great relationship; we seem to balance each other well. But we're both very competitive. So take a competitive married couple and put them on trainers next to each other, and what do you get? Here's but a small sample:

Me, noticing that his cadence is much higher than mine: "Hon, what gear are you in?"
Him: "42-19, you?"
Me: "42-14."
Him: "Oh, man, you're making me look bad . . . " (sound of him shifting to match my gear)

Okay, so that was a lame example. Whatever. Let's just say I'm a little concerned about the first time we happen to be doing Spinervals at the same time. It's going to be like a whole new realm in our relationship.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


No workout yesterday. I had intended to ride the trainer for a bit, but after physical therapy, acupuncture, and studying for the exam I had to take today, unfortunately it got pushed to the side. Sometimes life gets in the way, I guess.

PT was okay. It was just the first 'getting started' appointment, where they look at range of motion and strength and things, and yell at you because you haven't been icing your foot. I'll start with the good stuff on Tuesday. I was suprised that the therapist didn't ask me at all about my goals. I'd think that would be an important part of this.

Acupuncture was good, of course, and the acupuncturist told me that I need not come back. Well, I mean, she didn't tell me I wasn't welcome back, but just that she thinks I'm doing much better and maybe don't need to drive 45 minutes each way and pay her fee anymore. Which is okay. But really, I thought it was a huge help in getting me back on my feet. Yes, I know that was a terrible pun. If you don't like my stupid jokes, go away.

Clearly I'm cranky. Maybe it's my missed workouts. Maybe it's that I didn't sleep much last night because of the stupid exam this morning, which I feel confident that I may or may not have passed or failed. Seriously, I have no clue how I did. Fortunately, if I failed I can retake it in March. Small condolence, I suppose, but it is keeping me going :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Turns Out I DO Remember How to Swim

As I said in my last post, my last swim workout was a nightmare. It was an exercise in mental fortitude to just finish the damn thing. I felt like I had lead weights tied to my shoulders the whole time. It was one of those swims where, as soon as you push off the wall for that first warm-up, you know it's going to be a long day. And then it went down from there. Although, despite the fact that it felt terrible, my times were (surprisingly) not terrible. Which was a nice surprise, since I think that means I am getting faster, because I can feel pretty crappy and still not have terrible times.

But. That was 4 days ago. This is now. Today's workout was much better. I had been dreading this workout, given my crap-ass last swim. So after oversleeping (yes, today is Thursday, how did you know?) I dragged my ass to the gym and got in the pool. I figured if I just put myself on autopilot I'd be in the water and moving before I knew it. And it was true. The workout was:

6 x 50 (1:30 rest)
100 easy
4 x 50 (1:30 rest)
100 easy
2 x 50 (1:30 rest)

I felt great. Seriously. The whole time. It was awesome. Part of this may have been that during the rest times, I was watching the woman who got into the lane next to me. I've seen her a few times before. Every time, she leaves her big-ass transition bag on the deck at the end of the lane, and takes out her kickboard, pull buoy, flippers, and snorkel. She was in the water for ~20 minutes (okay, maybe more. I wasn't really paying attention to how long she was there, but she got in well after I had started my main set and got out before I was done). She does her laps, each with a different apparatus. When it comes to the snorkel/flippers set, she puts them on, pushes off the wall, and rockets her way to the other wall. Imagine this: she's flippering her way down the lane, with her snorkel on, head down, with her arms at her side the entire time. It's like a cartoon. Anyway. I think that's why the time went quickly.

But enough about her. I felt great. My times were not spectacular, and were slighly higher than the last time I did speedwork, but that's okay because I also doubled the number of intervals I did this time. My times were:

6 x 50 (47, 45, 45, 44, 44, 44)
4 x 50 (43, 43, 43, 42)
2 x 50 (43, 41)

So I was pretty consistent with dropping my times with each interval, which is good. I probably went out too easy because I didn't want to fly & die. But I felt great. And today, that's what mattered.